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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Vidar the Vampire

My notes on the Norwegian horror comedy Vampyr Vidar (Vidar the Vampire), out on demand in the US now.

 

Vidar Hårr (Thomas Aske Berg), a 33-year-old virgin still living in his cramped childhood room and toiling miserably on a farm in a heavily Christian far region of Norway, dreams of life in the sinful big city (Stavanger!) and prays to Jesus for a chance to get away from the farm, get into fights and fuck a succession of ‘twenty-plus’ women.  Unexpectedly, a black-eyed, gruesome-fanged Hesus (Brigt Skrettingland) shows up and offers to fulfil Vidar’s prayers if the supplicant gets down on his knees and – as shown in an explicit from-the-rear shot – sucks on his erect member.  Later, clad in an astbestos suit and dark glasses, Vidar explains to a phlegmatic shrink (Kim Sønderholm) that this is how he turned into a vampire … though, of course, the deal hasn’t worked out too well for him, since he’s got bored of hookers and passed-out drunk street hotties, is still jealous of Jesus (whose party trick of turning water into wine wins over women) and has suffered as many humiliations as a monster – put on a leash by his master and walked like a dog – as he did as a farmboy who was made cruel fun of by the local girls.

 

There’s no denying that Berg – who also co-wrote and co-directed with Fredrik Waldeland – is willing to venture into blasphemous, taboo regions with this rambling howl of black comic male self-pity.  Some of the vampire-related ickiness – Vidar choking on a tampon – is Troma-level obvious and the inverted religious rants tend to go on and on and on (even in an 81-minute film), but eventually Vidar’s self-hatred and animal urges fade into a peculiarly wistful stretch as he pays a hooker-succubus for an innocent date and the corrupt older characters are replaced by their younger selves (Ruben Jonassen, Martha Kristine Kåstad) for a funfair whirl which lasts until Vidar’s money runs out.  Dressed in farm overalls, stuck with a ‘70s moustache and transformed into a demon of the night who still isn’t as magnetic as his maker, Vidar is a unique oddball in vampire cinema, but his fixations on Playboy fantasies and harrassment of thinly-conceived women also make him a genuine creep whose rambling, nagging, whining approaches to would-be victims are unnervingly credible.  The film exits on a knife-edge between condemning and endorsing Vidar’s attitudes – the unfriendly, drunken blonde (Linda Tveiten) he hits on in a key sequence has the character name ‘drunk cunt’, for instance – and it may be that outside Norway it’s a film more likely to touch nerves with its protagonist’s incel whining than the cartoonish blasphemy of depicting Jesus Christ as a vampire playboy.

 

Made on the cheap, with a lot of material that hints at local references international audiences won’t get, this still has some ambitious, striking visuals – with Vidar levitating in a shroud at his funeral or climbing up a high-rise and the look of its vampires (irregular fangs and black marble pupils) is unusual and interesting.  Not as achieved as Afflicted, The Transfiguration, or Midnight Son – which play similar games with the turned-into-a-vampire sub-genre – but it does venture into unique thematic areas.  Cautiously recommended.

 

Here’s a trailer.

 

Here’s where to watch.

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